To Be, or Not to Be…

Anonymous, that is.

When I thought about starting this blog, I knew right away that if I did, I wanted to go the anonymous route.  There are a lot of different reasons why it makes sense, but then there are also limitations that come with not putting your face and identity out there.  Lately, I’ve been pondering the pros and cons of being an anonymous blogger versus being open and out there.

anonymous blogging

In Favor of Anonymity

First and foremost, there’s the issue of privacy.  I’m really not crazy about sharing photos and being identifiable from my blog, especially if I start sharing numbers and details related to our finances.  It’s a little scary how much you can find out about a person from the web these days, like information about home addresses, specific locations, etc..  It just makes me nervous.

On a previous blog I kept in another niche, I was much more open about myself in terms of sharing photos and the names of people in my life (with their consent).  While I took care not to reveal any info that was too personal, I still always had this slightly uneasy feeling lingering around.  If I had it to do over again, would I have been as open as I was and shared as many photos as I did on there?  I’m not sure.

Another issue that came along with being so open on my previous blog was that friends, family, and acquaintances could read it.  While it was cool to get their support, eventually I found that I had a really hard time writing and sharing as freely as I did in the beginning.  Something about knowing that they would be reading occasionally felt weird, and was sort of stifling at times.

The Case Against Anonymity

One of the reasons that I started this blog was to help further my freelance writing pursuits.  It can definitely be tough when much of the expert advice out there for freelancers encourages you to have a professional looking photo on your site for potential clients to see.

It makes perfect sense that people would identify much easier with an actual human than some random avatar.  It strengthens your professional profile and shows that you truly are a real person and not just some random spammer.  I do worry about how much this could hold me back.

For now, I’m going to continue blogging somewhat anonymously.  I feel comfortable with where I’m at, and I’ll likely share photos of myself that aren’t too revealing or identifying.  I definitely need to add a photo to my About page, and I’m considering changing up my Gravatar while it’s still early in the game.

*Update: As you may have guessed, I no longer blog anonymously! 

So what about you- are you completely open on your blog, or do you prefer blogging anonymously?

16 thoughts on “To Be, or Not to Be…”

  1. Erin Waldie

    The pen writer/blogger can work but the branding for social media needs to be set up differently. For freelance blogging it’s difficult.. people want a face. Writing novels under a pen name is much easier in terms of branding and developing a social media strategy . Great Post.

    1. It’s tough to put yourself out there at first if you’re a very private person. What I’ve noticed is that many bloggers will start off anon, then gradually reveal themselves as their comfort level increases. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. Jon @ Our Fine Adventure

    Right now I post more anonymously because that is just what I am comfortable with at this point… however, I could see becoming less anonymous in the future. I am just not sure yet what my end goals are…

    1. Yeah, I think that’s the way to go- start off anon, then make a change if you decide. You can always open up more in the future as you feel comfortable. I’m sure your goals will become clearer over time. I’m not entirely sure what mine are either!

  3. Yeah, anonymity can be a pain if you want your blog to play a role in your freelance efforts.

    I started out anon and have relaxed that over the years. I am semi anon – my face is on my About page and I link to stuff that has my full name but you won’t find my name anywhere on my actual blog. Only a few friends know about my blog and now that I’m home (not travelling anymore) I doubt they still read. I like it this way because without family reading I feel freer in what I write about, and when people Google me they get my professional profiles and clips and not my personal blog.

  4. Trying to grow freelance opportunities can be hard when you are anonymous. I tried this a long time ago and failed. I get much more success with being open. That being said, I don’t share a ton of details about my finances. Yes, I share a lot, but I don’t tell people how much I make, how much I am worth and all of that. Best of luck in your journey.

    I will say that I am happy that you added privacy to your domain registration. So many people want to blog anonymously, but then register their domain with all the information. Oops!

    1. Thanks, Grayson! I guess I’ll just have to see how it goes and re-evaluate along the way. Much easier to start off on the anonymous side and come out little by little as time goes on. And thank goodness for the option of domain registration privacy- well worth that small fee 🙂

  5. I think it depends on what your goals really are. If you just want to blog, then staying anonymous might be fine. If you want to get writing gigs or have your writings shared all over the web, being anonymous can hinder that goal. I’m out of the closet but I have to be because I write all over the place.

    1. Yeah, it’s tough because I’ve mainly been a ghostwriter until this point, so putting myself out there does seem necessary for progression. I’ll need to get comfortable with it if I want to write and get credit for it.

  6. I think about this every day. I too, would like to start freelancing eventually. Sometimes I question if adding a pic of myself for example would help me build my brand. Then again, I also struggle with privacy… I also work full-time right now and am afraid that if my employer discovers my blog, they may not approve. If my blog grows into something more substantial I may consider adding more information… or do I need to add more information about myself to grow the blog? haha yeah, this has been on my mind a LOT.

    1. Glad to know I’m not alone 🙂 Yeah, you certainly don’t want to risk your career. I think if you’re unsure, best to just continue on as you are, then slowly reveal more of yourself if and when you feel comfortable.

  7. Michael@Save-Invest-Grow

    This is a very important topic for a blogger. I think its important to find your voice first, and alongside that, create your blog’s identity. I’ve seen very successful blogs where you don’t know what the author looks like, but you still feel like you know them. I think the key is to open up and show your personality with your writing. That will probably be developed over time as you write more and interact with your readers. I’m still working to come up with the right mix of disclosure for my blog too.

    1. That’s a great point- if you can really come through in your writing, then you may not really need to put your face out there for people to feel like they know you. There are definitely bloggers I read and enjoy who remain anonymous.

  8. Interesting thoughts. I didn’t really think about it much. I kinda just post what I post without a second thought about who the info gets read by or what people will know about me. I’ve always been quite indifferent when it comes to internet privacy. My mentality being that if someone wants info badly enough they can find a way to get it. After you log in once you are pretty much logged in forever. What with the NSA and such. The internets knowledge is so vast. With info so far back as before the dawn of man. As long as the internet is “free” minus the bill to keep it turned on the information will always and forever be available.

    Plus I’m so in debt there isn’t anything anyone could take from me! 😛 Maybe once I start making the big bucks I’ll change my mind about posting financial figures but for now it is all in the negative so what is the harm? 🙂

    1. I didn’t really ever think too much about internet privacy, but as I get older, it’s started being a little more of a concern to me. I do agree that if someone wanted info badly enough, they could probably get it. I just don’t know how much I want to offer up, ya know?

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